There are many ways to tie a tie, but the three main ways of doing it shall be discussed below. No matter which method is being used, the criteria to have a good knot are based on the size of the knot against the dress shirts collar size and how snugly fit the knot is between the collar points.
The three popular methods of tying a tie would be four-in-hand (the most popular), the Windsor, and the half-Windsor.
The most common way to tie a tie for decades is the four-in-hand probably due to the easier way of executing the knot. There is a slight asymmetrical appearance for the four-in-hand that gives it a less formal appeal.
The smaller and narrower triangle knot created fits into almost all types of collars like the straight-point, tab or even the pin collars. The only collars not suitable would be the spread or wide spread collars.
There is a common problem faced by most inexperienced men tying the four-in-hand would be missing the V-shaped triangular knot as well as creating a distorted knotting eventually.
The trick in arriving one nice V-shape knot with a dimple is to have it tightly knotted. When passing the top blade into the partially formed knot, hold the top blade on both edges and then pulling it down gently until the top blade starts to tighten and has a slight convex close to the knot.
Using your thumb and forefinger to press the bottom of the knot into a V-shape and the convex will deepen to form the dimple. Then continue to lift the knot up to your collar by using on hand to pull the bottom blade while the other hand holding on to the knot.
Generally, in order to succeed to tie a tie this way, the hand of the fabric (explained in the details of ties) is very important. Heavier hand ties will take into V-shape knot and the dimple very easily and with style. Those lighter hand ties will do better with the Windsor or half-Windsor to create a fuller knot.
This knot is named after the Duke of Windsor who popularized it. Generally to tie a tie this way would preferably for suits with wider lapels or dress shirt collars that are wide spread.
The Windsor has a tendency to create larger triangular shaped knots. The knot will also be more symmetrical with more horizontal geometry.
However, Windsor is not suitable for heavier hand ties since it would lead to really huge knots. The thin or light hand ties would definitely benefit in getting better V-shaped knots with a Windsor.
This is a version that is half of the Windsor as suggested by its name. It would be considered as in-between in the size of the knot compared to both the Windsor and four-in-hand. The types of collars suitable for the Half-Windsor would be spread collars as well as wide spread depending on the hand of the tie.
Pratt (Shelby) Knot
This is close to the half-Windsor and my preferred way to tie a tie compared to the half-Windsor.
The tying method is simpler and has an easier way to create the dimple. The tie will also be more symmetrical like that of a Windsor but with a size knot of the half-Windsor.
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